Yankees 2011 Season in Review: Derek Jeter

People have been talking about the downfall of Derek Jeter since 2008. 2009 of course threw everyone off, but after a poor 2010 season it seemed like he would be all but done in 2011. However an offseason adjustment to his swing had a few optimistic about 2011.

ABANDONED WORK: Jeter worked with Kevin Long in the offseason to make mechanical adjustments to his swing so he could prolong his career. The new swing didn’t exactly work and Jeet abandoned it almost immediately.

FIRST HALF SLUMP: Over the first 62 games of the season Jeter had become a different hitter, one that doesn’t hit for average and had almost no power as shown by a .260 average and a .649 OPS.

HITTING THE DL: Jeter fought to stay off the DL in mid-June, but it turned out to be the best thing for him. He got to work with Gary Denbo, one of the men who was responsible for teaching a young Jeter his swing, and the results paid off.

SECOND HALF RESURGENCE: From Jeter’s return from the DL until the end of the season, 69 games. Jeter was absolutely on fire. During that splan he hit .331 and his OPS was a healthy .831. Jeter went back to hitting the ball with authority and it seemed like 2009 all over again while we were watching his resurgence.

DIMINISHED RANGE: After a couple of years where he improved his range, Jeter appears to be losing it again. His -6.5 UZR was his lowest since 2007 and the second year in a row it dropped.

VERDICT: Considering 2010 and how the first half of 2011 went, Jeter couldn’t have finished the season any better. Still, there is a clear distinction between Jeter now and Jeter back then. He’s not the same player he was and probably never will be again. However, as long as he can hit .300 he will still be a strong offensive shortstop and will continue to contribute to the team.

GOING FORWARD: I expect Jeter to hit .300 next year, but his power, range, and speed will continue to get worse. Because of that it is hard to imagine him playing shortstop in three years although where exactly he will move to is hard to say as he won’t exactly make a good DH and has never, ever played a single out in the outfield, even in Little League. The 2012 Yankees might not have to worry about that, but eventually it will catch up to them. He should probably be moved out of the lead-off spot soon too.

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2 Responses to Yankees 2011 Season in Review: Derek Jeter

  1. Tanned Tom says:

    Jeter's range is of course in decline, and at his best none mistook him for Ozzie Smith. However, with 2 more seasons as SS he has a chance to pass 3420 hits, which would give him the most hits by a SS. This would be a compelling argument that he's the best SS in history. I know all about Wagner (wasn't Fred Flinstone the manager back then?) but lots of players hit .328 in that era (although that's still quite good), and Jeter has, I feel, been a better offensive player relative to his non-steroid peers then Wagner was. Arky Vaughn's name gets tossed around some, but his offensive numbers aren't close to Jeter's and he too played in an offensive era (mostly the 30's).

  2. Tanned Tom says:

    Some might say Ripken, but Jeter is actually the better offensive player, his career line of .313/.383/.449 being clearly superior to Ripken's .276/.340/.447. That's right Jeter has a higher slugging percentage than Ripken. Jeter also has the edge in SBs, 339 to 36. Hard as it might be for some over-reactive, alleged, Yankee fans (as well as the sour-grape haters) to realize, Derek Jeter is the best shortstop of all time. Throw in his career post season line over 152 games of .307/.374/.465 and there really can't be any doubt. This guy has been something special.